Blakemore Wholesale

Blakemore Wholesale, up for sale

Wholesale giant AF Blakemore & Son has confirmed plans to sell its cash & carry operation, eight months after the story first emerged.

It was reported last August that the wholesaler had appointed KPMG to look into the sale of its cash & carry operation.

Today buying group Landmark, of which the Blakemore cash & carry business is a leading member, announced that AFB has decided to sell is wholesale division, consisting of 12 cash & carry depots, as a going concern.

“The move away from the cash & carry sector will allow the company to invest further across its wider business and focus future strategy upon its remaining divisions, as it continues to drive innovation within the retail and wholesale distribution sectors,” said AFB joint managing director Geoff Hallam.

He did not provide any further details of the sale plans but said the company “has now informed colleagues and will support all 520 of those impacted throughout this process. Further information will be provided as the situation progresses over the coming weeks”.

Landmark said its relationship with AFB would remain business as usual for the immediate future and ongoing through the foodservice and wholesale distribution divisions.

“We will be sorry to see AFB’s cash & carry depot division changing hands, however we are hopeful that some depots may not leave the Landmark family,” said Landmark MD John Mills. “We understand that in this consolidating market, AFB have to do what is right for their business. We will work closely with their management team during this process.”

He added: “With 40 members and a group turnover of c£2.8bn, Landmark’s focus will remain on providing our members with the best support we can in this competitive environment, including our terms package and access to the central office services such as our award-winning own brand ranges, marketing and promotions programmes, IT support and more.”

It was reported last year that AFB’s cash & carry depots had been offered to Bestway with a price tag of £100m, but The Grocer found out that the UK’s second biggest carry & carry operator was more interested in AFB’s delivered Spar operations than adding to its existing portfolio of cash & carries.

Other potential buyers for some or all of the sites include regional cash & carry operators such as Dhamecha or Parfetts.

AFB said all enquiries for interested parties in relation to the acquisition of the sites are being dealt with by property director Mark Titley.